Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Importance of Committing to African Americans

BOND: Do black leaders have an obligation to help other African Americans and if so, is there any point at which this obligation ends and you can direct your impulses toward a larger audience?

BERRY: I think leaders have a responsibility to work for society in general and for African Americans, both, and not either or because to the extent certain issues and problems, for example. If you talk about the absence of health insurance for people, there’re, what, 40-some million people who don’t have health insurance. A lot of them are African Americans but a lot of them are not. To the extent that you are able to have health insurance for everybody, it would benefit African Americans but a lot of other people, too. It’s just a general social policy or if people are given certain basic elements of subsistence, it would help everyone including African Americans, but the’re some things that are specifically problems of African Americans, that if African Americans themselves don’t pay attention to them and devote their attention, how do you expect anybody else to?